Your Worry Is An Act of Rebellion

Your first leg up off of rock bottom

  • Justin Zoradi
Your Worry Is An Act of Rebellion

My 2014 hasn’t exactly gone as planned. The company I founded, These Numbers Have Faces, went through stages of great growth last year, but the maintenance of it all has been really challenging.

For months I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat. My anxiety has come roaring back and all the while, there are hundreds of talented students on the waiting list to join our programs in Africa.

To top it off, my wife and I are expecting our first child in only a few weeks time. We’re thrilled of course, but the future is downright scary.

Worry, fear, dread, regret. You’ve been there. We all have.

Like many of us do in times of trial, I rushed back to the foundations of my faith, praying in earnest for rest, peace, and spiritual renewal.

And then I stumbled upon the following 136 words that changed it all. 136 words that gave me the first leg up off of rock bottom. 136 words that, for the first time in a long time, quelled the battery acid of worry in my gut:

I am leading you step by step through your life. Hold My hand in trusting dependence, letting me guide you through this day.

Your future looks uncertain and feels flimsy, even precarious. That is how it should be. Secret things belong to the Lord, and future things are secret things.

When you try to figure out the future, you are grasping at the things that are Mine.

This, like all forms of worry, is an act of rebellion: doubting My promises to care for you.

Whenever you find yourself worrying about the future, repent and return to Me. I will show you the next step forward, and the one after that, and the one after that.

Relax and enjoy the journey in My Presence, trusting Me to open up the way before you as you go.”

- Sarah Young, Jesus Calling

Let’s review:

1. Your future is uncertain. This is how it is meant to be. (Tweet That)

2. Secret things belong to the Lord, and future things are secret things. (Tweet That)

3. Your worry is an act of rebellion. (Tweet That)


In my top office drawer I have a green folder that holds some of my most prized documents. They aren’t awards, certificates, or photographs; they are clippings of prayers and quotes like the one above. I’ve got some Henry Nouwen, a hearty dose of Dr. King, some CS Lewis, and a pinch of Thomas Merton.

These brief reflections, handwritten or printed from my office computer, act as anchors of hope in times of uncertainty. Over the last few months, my little folder has grown and grown.

What has saved me this year has been the repetition of opening this folder every morning to read and reread its contents. I set aside 20 minutes a day and let these familiar words pour over me. The same words from the same people, over and over. This repetition, this act of obedience, has become the foundation of my day. Miraculously, it has brought peace.

Are you going through hell right now?

Build your green folder. Allow it to become your spiritual and emotional survival kit.

It’s not out of the norm to keep a first aid kit in your car or a few gallons of water in your basement for an emergency. We should follow the same guidelines for our souls.

In your times of mental clarity and hopefulness, place the quotes, phrases, verses, prayers, and letters of encouragement you know you will need in times of disbelief and despair.

I’ll offer some suggestions below of what you can find in mine, but you need to create the kit that you know will work for you.

Then build on the habits of repetition. At the same time every day, read the contents of your folder. You’ll be surprised at the way this habit will guide you into the future.

- JZ

What I Read Every Day

The Bible
The Business of Heaven, CS Lewis
Show Me The Way, Henry Nouwen
The War of Art, Steven Pressfield
My Utmost For His Highest, Oswald Chambers

Quotes & Excerpts:
Thomas Merton, Sarah Young, Oscar Romero, Marianne Williamson, Martin Luther King Jr, Desmond Tutu.

Photo Credit:
John Bruckman

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Comments (8)

  • Julie


    02 June 2014 at 17:11 |
    Yes JZ. I have been thinking about Oswald's idea that we ought to stop doing so much to work FOR God and face the ego-checking alternative of working WITH Him. A time for all things, in all seasons, according to greater wisdom than we can know.
    • Justin Zoradi

      Justin Zoradi

      03 June 2014 at 05:13 |
      Awesome Julie. Thanks for reading. And you're right on... it's about partnering with God, not just doing things 'for him'
  • Larry J Rutledge

    Larry J Rutledge

    02 June 2014 at 21:30 |
    I just had a conversation at lunch today that goes along with this ... I have for some time felt compelled to step out and find my purpose, but fear, worry and practicality hold me back.

    I was reminded of one of my life verses, Isaiah 30:21 "Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, 'This is the way, walk in it,' whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left."

    Just because I don't know what direction I should be moving doesn't mean I can't begin to move. When a ship sits in the harbor, they can turn the rudder to the right or left all they want and that ship will not change course. It is not until the ship is sailing that the rudder is able to alter its course.

    Set a path, move in that direction, and let God make the necessary course corrections along the way.
  • Justin Zoradi

    Justin Zoradi

    03 June 2014 at 05:20 |
    Thanks Larry for insightful comments as always. Appreciate it!
  • Joy Eggerichs

    Joy Eggerichs

    03 June 2014 at 23:11 |
    Yes. So good. This is one of the reasons I go to my cemetery multiple times a week. Reminding ourselves of the brevity of life causes a reframing of our momentary worries. It also creates a sense of urgency, but for me in a more calm way. If that makes sense.

    And yes, I said "my" cemetery.
  • John Vicory

    John Vicory

    28 June 2014 at 04:53 |
    Man. Needing this so much right now. Thanks for your insights, bro. I read it when you first posted, but found it again and it means so much more.
  • Arlen Miller

    Arlen Miller

    09 July 2014 at 13:04 |
    Thanks so much for sharing from your struggle, Mr. Justin. I've had a few pressurized experiences of my own recently. Lord, Help me surrender. Thank you for the cross. I've noticed the results can be beautiful. It becomes an honor to be honed and crafted, by faith, in closer resemblance to the Creator, in spite of misunderstandings, stress, and disappointments on the horizontal level. On behalf of all those you serve, thanks for going on. Thanks for keeping the towel—wiping the sweat and tears—and going on.
  • Joel Fry

    Joel Fry

    05 December 2014 at 22:48 |
    I can tell you from experience that if you are having this much anxiety it may come and go. It may seem like it's gone for a while then erupt again later without warning. I'm not a doctor, but medication has helped me tremendously. There is no substitute for medication, and therapy may be needed as well. Otherwise you may be at the mercy of a dibilitating anxiety disorder that may arise completely independant of whatever situation you are facing.

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